“What’s your superpower?”
“Your superpower. What is it?”
“Oh. Well, if I concentrate really *really* hard I can create an even more intense level of personal discomfort. What’s yours?”
“I have the power to make the news both horrible *and* distressing. Every time a new nightmare.”
“Neat. Let’s have a cup of dreams.”
“Ok, Mr. M we’ve had a good look at your CV and examples and think you’d be perfect for the job…”
The fizzing transatlantic voice crackled in my ear like an ancient radio broadcast.
“We just want to know one more thing – when can you start?”
I stared at myself in the mirror, grasping tightly onto my outdated mobile. Was this really happening?
Well, yes it was, and it did.
The job itself seemed relatively simple to begin with. My task was to profile shoppers as they came and went through the halls of the vast local shopping mall, the so-called Destiny Center. The people ambled through the arcade, carefully examining each item they found intriguing before they made a purchase.
But this wasn’t what we wanted! We wanted clawing, snarling forced bargain sales produced though contempt and exclusive offers. This level of civilisation was not in the job description!
So I was forced to up the ante.
“Oi you,” I shouted at a middle aged male shopper delicately holding a reusable heavyweight holdall. “There’s a demon in your bag!”
He gave me a passing glance and then continued browsing through a selection of Bosch prints.
I tried again. “There really is! And he’s here to eat all of you up on a 2000 for 1 deal! He would like a ready meal of dissatisfaction, a convenience trip of liquid sea bass, a worrisome steak sandwich, a…”
I was forced to stop by a police dog’s paw on my shoulder.
“What are you shouting about, Mister?” barked the canine, robotically, “If you don’t calm down I’ll be forced to cancel your Destiny card.”
“But I’m working,” I replied. “I’ve been hired by the stopgap Anyjob firm to create a disturbance at this center to prove beyond all doubt that shopping makes people insouciant!”
“And what the hell’s wrong with that? A bit of casualness and disconnection hardly ever hurt anyone!”
And that’s when the buzzing started. A searing pulsating vibration going off in my head accompanied by the familiar metallic 50’s radio voice.
“Do it. Do it now!”
I took the contraption out of my own shopper and pressed the button. “This is your profile!” I screamed, the blood rushing past my eyeballs and covering the polished floor in puddles of red.
“This is the destiny you asked for!”
White electricity jumps through my skull and I know no more.
Until I wake up in the office.
“Good job, Mr. M,” the freakishly minute image of what must be the Line Manager said on screen.
“You managed to create quite a stir over there in the Destiny Center. But, next time, be sure to do it for real. You’re with us for life you know!”